If you're planning to check out the Rams on TV during the exhibition season, you'll have to wait until Friday night, Aug. 29, when they play at Denver on NBC.
For the second straight year, the Rams' home exhibition games won't be televised locally.
Last season, the Rams' lone road game, against the Philadelphia Eagles at Columbus, Ohio, was televised by Channel 2. But Channel 2 decided against carrying the Rams' home games because, according to NFL policy, they couldn't be televised until midnight unless they were sold out.
This year, the Rams' first three exhibition games are at home, beginning with next Tuesday night's meeting with the Houston Oilers, and since NBC is televising the fourth game, Channel 2 passed on the Rams' exhibition season altogether.
The Raiders, meanwhile, will have all four of their exhibitions televised, although their second game, against Dallas at the Coliseum on Saturday night, Aug. 16, probably will be blacked out in Los Angeles. NBC is televising the game nationally.
The Raiders will open at San Francisco on Sunday, Aug. 10, and CBS is televising that game.
The Raiders' other two exhibitions--Friday night, Aug. 22, against New England and Thursday night, Aug. 28, against Cleveland--are home games, and Channel 4 will show them on a delayed basis at 11:30 p.m. The NFL previously insisted on midnight telecasts but has loosened up a little.
For Spanish-speaking fans, KVEA (Channel 52) will televise the New England and Cleveland games, also at 11:30 p.m.
More football: Saturday at 11:30 a.m., ABC will televise the NFL Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio, between the Patriots and the St. Louis Cardinals. The announcing team of Al Michaels and Frank Gifford will make its debut.
Sunday at 10 a.m., NBC will televise the Chicago Bears-Dallas Cowboys game from London, with Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen reporting. NBC will treat this game more as an event than a football game. Newcomer Paul Maguire will be a roving reporter.
The production crew will include BBC people who have never worked an American football game.
Shake-up at CBS: CBS hired Joe Theismann as a football analyst this week, and Ted Shaker, CBS Sports' new executive producer, has made a number of changes.
Shaker is pairing Theismann with Jack Buck, breaking up the outstanding team of Buck and Hank Stram. Stram is now teamed with Gary Bender.
Pat Haden is moving from the studio back to the booth and will work both college and pro games with Verne Lundquist.
The only CBS pairings remaining intact are Pat Summerall and John Madden, and Tom Brookshier and Dick Vermeil.
Wayne Walker, moving from commentator to play- by-play announcer, is now paired with Johnny Morris. Other new combinations are Dick Stockton and Dan Dierdorf, and Tim Ryan and Terry Bradshaw.
Gone is John Dockery, who worked as a commentator with Jim Hill the past two years. Hill is being retained as a fill-in commentator. Hill's agent, Ed Hookstratten, said Shaker assured himthat Hill would get plenty of work.
Status quo: At NBC, the pro football situation remains relatively unchanged. The only major switch is the pairing of former Miami Dolphin Jimmy Cefalo with Charlie Jones. Sam Rutigliano, Jones' former partner, will be used only part time.
Jones is beginning his 27th straight year as a network pro football announcer. Cefalo will be his 37th commentator.
Michael Weisman, NBC Sports' executive producer, is high on former Harvard and Cincinnati Bengal punter Pat McInally, who retired this week. McInally is from Villa Park.
Weisman is also impressed with recently retired New England offensive lineman John Hannah. Both McInally and Hannah may be used on games this season.
Tennis, everyone? John McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitis and other tennis pros, plus a long and impressive collection of pro athletes and entertainment celebrities, gathered at Lake Tahoe last weekend for the Mita Lake Tahoe Sports Festival.
The four-day event, a benefit for the United Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation, will be shown as a two-hour special on ABC Sunday at 3 p.m.
The festival included a pro-am celebrity doubles tournament, a McEnroe-Gerulaitis exhibition, a 1.9-mile fun run, windsurfing, golf, a softball game and a bicycle race, referred to as "Tour de Tahoe" by announcer Lynn Swann.
Because of the number of participants, there were about 16 outfielders on each softball team. That didn't bother McEnroe. He simply hit the ball over everyone for a home run.